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Friday, March 25, 2011


(One of) the most disgusting acts ever to happen in the history of our world (in my opinion) was the Holocaust. I can't even fathom the reasons behind it or how anybody would have gone along with it. When I was in the 5th (I think) grade, my teacher mentioned something about the Holocaust. When I got home I asked my parents about it and they told me a few things. Then I went to the library and checked out several books (Diary of Anne Frank, I Have Lived a Thousand Years, We Survived etc...). THe books I focused on were appropriate for my age and were stories of children or teens who went through the Holocaust. After reading those books I became so interested in WW2 and couldn't get enough of it.

When I was 11 or 12 a lady came and spoke at my church, Noemi Ban. She is a Holocaust survivor and was just 19 years old when her family was taken from her and she was sent to Auschwitz concentration camp. I remember bits and pieces of her story but not everything.

On Wednesday I was able to hear her speak again. I hope I never will forget what she spoke about, the story she told was maddening, disgusting and incredible. She not only spoke of the evil she went through but also the lack of hate she has in her heart. She said hate is an evil thing and it breeds and when it becomes so bad, there is no telling what it can do. One man's hate for various religions (among other things) caused millions of people to suffer and die.

 I am appalled at the world and the evil we can find here but there is also so much good. I was so impressed with her attitude and even though it was the most horrific experience of her life, she is able to share it with anybody who will listen. Her 'sense of humor' about the fact that she did not drink one drop of water for 4 months impressed me the most. She lost her mother, brother, sister, grandparents, aunts, uncles and yet she still found forgiveness and strength from her experiences. How often do I complain about the fact that I am supposed to drink 8 8 oz glasses of water a day? How often do I give thanks for the clean, endless supply of water I have at my fingertips? Not very often. There are so many people past and present  who have so much less than I do but manage to have a better outlook on life.
 I never had to march in a line only to get separated from my family and find out later they were suffocated and burned. I never have had to survive on 2 pieces of bread, a small cup of coffee mixed with sawdust, and a drink from a putrid bowl of "soup". But yet I complain there's 'nothing' to eat in the fridge. Of course there's something to eat, our cupboards are full and our fridge is stocked. What am I talking about?
I've never had to wear a large badge to advertise what I am. I am free to practice my religion and not be persecuted for it. I've never had to march away from my home for endless miles with one small package of my belongings, or be shoved like cattle onto a train in the hot summer heat with no knowledge of where we were going on when we would get there.

There are people who don't believe it happened but all they need to do is look at the horrible pictures or read a history book. It happened and I hope their story never dies. Although it's gruesome and hard to hear about, it's so important for everyone to know so hopefully we can learn tolerance and acceptance.

Noemi Ban has a book out called, Sharing is Healing and a movie called, My name is Noemi where she goes back to Auschwitz. I can't even imagine the images and memories she must have. Sometimes I'll smell something and it will take me right back to a time or place in my childhood, I'm sure she experiences the same thing. She is incredible. She is speaking at Western on April 12th, it is free but you do need to get tickets, I encourage anyone who is able to go hear her speak, you won't regret it!


Doneva said...

Beautifully written, yes Naomi also inspired me about the simple abundance that we enjoy each and everyday, thanks for your insight.

Jeff and Andrea Ashmore Family said...

Thanks Amanda for this post!
I wasn't able to attend because my kids were sick but I really wanted to hear the message.

Amanda said...

I'm not very good with words and I can't retell her stories anywhere near as well as she does obviously but I recommend everyone hear her speak. She is speaking at Western April 12th it is free but you need to get tickets in advance. Totally worth it!


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